A heady dose of nostalgia can often do wonders for a company’s public perception. Take for instance — the Nintendo 64, a much-loved, well-supported and seemingly ever-present part of the mid-90s gaming landscape. What many modern gamers may not realize however is the near-3-to-1 sales advantage enjoyed by Sony’s own PlayStation, during this time.
It should come as quite a shock then, to discover that the 3DS, Nintendo‘s latest, and seemingly-beleaguered handheld has just overtaken the lifetime sales of the 64. Having suffered under one-or-two misperceptions of its own (this time of a widespread failure) it’s doubly interesting to see the 3DS become the console to clamber above big brother.
First spotted by NeoGaf user ‘Aquamarine,’ this latest sales information, gleaned directly from Nintendo’s own website, illustrates the scope of the handheld’s success — keep in mind that the system has only been on store shelves for two-and-a-half years, as opposed to the 6-year lifespan of the Nintendo 64.
Lifetime Hardware Sales (Nintendo Consoles)
1) DS: 153,960,000 units shipped
2) GB + GBC: 111,869,000 units shipped
3) Wii: 100,300,000 units shipped
4) GBA: 81,510,000 units shipped
5) NES: 61,910,000 units shipped
6) SNES: 49,100,000 units shipped
7) 3DS: 34,980,000 units shipped
8) N64: 32,930,000 units shipped
9) GC: 21,740,000 units shipped
10) Wii U: 3,910,000 units shipped
11) Virtual Boy: ~1,260,000 units shipped
Judging by this trend, the multi-tiered handheld — available in vanilla, XL and 2D formats – should surpass the lifetime sales of the SNES console around this time next year. If the sales push continues the 3DS could conceivably overtake the original NES in a further 18 months — though what effects a potential successor would have on these sales is hard to guess. Nintendo may have ridden the wave of the original DS for close to 7 years, but the company only waited 3 to introduce that machine, following 2001’s Game Boy Advance — meaning a new handheld could be either years away, or just around the corner.
Given the 3DS’ notoriously slow start to life — and overall lack of support, it isn’t particularly surprising to find that the system’s software sales are failing to keep pace with the hardware. Below is a list of lifetime game sales, which sees both of Ninty’s latest efforts remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table. It isn’t all doom and gloom where “the big N’s” game sales are concerned, however, with the likes of Pokemon X & Y and Monster Hunter 4 currently tearing up the charts worldwide — the first and second 3DS releases from these mammoth franchises.
Lifetime Nintendo Game Sales
1) DS: 938,930,000 units shipped
2) Wii: 883,970,000 units shipped
3) GB + GBC: 501,110,000 units shipped
4) NES: 500,010,000 units shipped
5) SNES: 379,060,000 units shipped
6) GBA: 377,420,000 units shipped
7) N64: 224,970,000 units shipped
8) GC: 208,570,000 units shipped
9) 3DS: 122,420,000 units shipped
10) Wii U: 19,710,000 units shipped
Is the Nintendo 3DS the dark horse success of this generation? Where might the console have been with even greater software support? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Nintendo 3DS news, right here on Game Rant.
Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.